Ulster gunrunning ‘has the makings of an all-action film’

Gunrunning postcard from 1914.
Gunrunning postcard from 1914.

The story of the Ulster gunrunning in April 1914 is worthy of movie status, it has been claimed.

Dr David Hume, author of new book “Union Cruiser: Ulster and the Gunrunning of 1914”, said that while other notable events in Irish history had made the big screen, including the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921, this incident had so far been ignored.

Dr Hume, who is also director of services at the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, said the story of how guns were smuggled en masse into Larne and other locations in the Province to arm the Ulster Volunteers has the makings of a great film.

“This story for me is one of the outstanding dramas of Ulster’s history,” he said, adding that the episode has “drama, suspense, courage, action and outstanding visual images”.

“The gunrunning must be seen in the context of the fears of a minority population that it would be extirpated through one means or another in a Home Rule Ireland.

“Unionists in Ireland believed that Home Rule would be an economic, political, social and cultural disaster.”

Dr Hume said that among the dramatic stories he has discovered is that of a six-car convoy which made its way into Monaghan with rifles, preceded by outriders, while eyewitness accounts include those of farmers from rural Magheramorne making their way into Larne with their horses and carts and returning with rifles.

Union Cruiser: Ulster and the Gunrunning of 1914, published by the Educational Affairs Committee of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, is available for £10 (plus £2.25 P&P) – contact Orange Order headquarters on 028 9070 1122 or via email info@ grandorangelodge.co.uk.